The First First Responders

first

“It’s going to take forever to get there in this snow.”

That was the first remark I heard about the event, aside from the basics: place, fire type, and potential casualty estimate.

For those interested, the answers were “Silver Stream Forest off RR7, unknown, and unknown.”

We were in the middle of a once-in-a-century snowstorm. Those once-in-a-century storms that seem to come every five years nowadays. Doesn’t mean much to some, but for those of us who have to work and drive in them to save lives, it matters.

That night, it mattered.

Our station is the only one in the area. Under ideal conditions, the rural route seven connection to the forest would be a 35 minute drive. We’d be lucky to get there in 90.

An hour into the drive, we saw the aurorae, despite the howling wind blowing heaps of snow through the air. I’d guess the visibility was less than ten feet. But the aurorae were clear.

“Electrical?” John posited.

“Not sure how that’d work,” someone answered — sounded like Lloyd.

“No.” John agreed. “Me neither.”

I looked out the side window toward the direction of the lightshow. It wasn’t like the kind I’d seen when I spent time in Iceland after college. Nothing like that. These ribbons of light were thin and fast moving. And red, too. All shades of red, from deep crimson to something that neared orange.

“Definitely not the borealis,” I said, mostly to myself.

Continue reading “The First First Responders”

Seeds of Ignition

skull

His mouth is a door.

“Where do you want to go?” he whispers. A tongue, short and pink, slips out and hangs over a generous lower lip. Eel slick. A leafy gutter after a late October rainstorm. Far away, a planet annihilates into its sun.

“To them,” she replies, and reaches with a tentative hand.

The door widens to accommodate. Skin splits, then knits. New teeth sprout from elongating gums. Enamel amaryllises.

Hand, wrist, forearm. The door makes room. It did for me. I was the first to try. And succeed.

“How far until…” she asks, only to hush. Right then, she can feel it. I can tell.

Five fingers finesse frigid, fleshy folds. Folds finesse back.

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The Star Bridge

TClow

Eric shot himself in the head on April 24th, 2016. I was standing beside him. I still have the bloodstained clothes. And the bloodstained memories.

“You need to understand, Elena,” he explained, holding the gun to his temple. “There’s a bridge. It’s right here.”

He shook the gun, as if to signify its new status – not as a weapon, but as a means of traversal.

“Don’t, Eric.” My voice was slow and calm but flickers of panic were doubtless present in its timbre.

“I see it now. In flashes. Whenever I imagine pulling the trigger, I get a glimpse of the bridge ahead. It’s not black. It’s not empty. It’s bright and full and warm with everything I’d imagined.”

Machinery whirred around us. An omnipresent hum of energy filled the room as countless megajoules of electricity filled capacitating cylinders, all ready to discharge at a specific time.

“What if you’re wrong?” I asked. “What then? You’re just dead. And you’re worthless when you’re dead. All that potential is gone.”

“The continuation of life affirms worthlessness. My worth is in what I’ve seen. My worth is in what happens next. Because if I’m right, and I know I’m right, everyone will learn that what we are in right now is just the first stage. Once that gets out, we can all go through. And on.”

“But by that, you mean that everyone can just die? Are you listening to yourself?”

He gripped the gun tighter and grinned.

“Maybe it sounds crazy. But I see it. And I think you’re about to.” Continue reading “The Star Bridge”

The Secret Doctors of NASA: A Surgeon’s Nightmare

OR

(Horror stories about space.)

“The Secret Doctors of NASA” is a series of memoirs, diaries, and reports from actual doctors employed by an undisclosed arm of NASA between 1970 and 2001. These writings contain true accounts of the unusual and often highly-classified medical conditions experienced by astronauts during and after their space missions. Following the defunding of the clandestine medical program after the September 11, 2001 terror attacks, the majority of these accounts were left, forgotten, on tape drives in a NASA storage facility. In 2016, a former intern, whose job was to clean out one of these facilities, discovered them. Two years later, he is ready to release what he found.

Thus far, the following reports have been released: A Dentist’s Discovery, A Psychologist’s Suicide.

Releaser’s note: This account is from a post-surgery oral memoir dictated by an unnamed surgeon to an anonymous NASA official. The background circumstances are unknown.

A Surgeon’s Nightmare

Look, I’d been awake for two straight days. You guys have been putting us through hell with all the injuries from the Hephaestus Project, so forgive me if my results weren’t as great as they could have been. But come the hell on – what do you expect when someone comes to me in that condition?

So you want to know what happened in my own words? Fine. But don’t get pissed when I call your practices into question.

The patient was admitted with significant injuries to his legs, torso, arms, and head. On the surface, they appeared to be lacerations, which was strange because their severity would have caused near-instantaneous exsanguination and they would’ve gone straight to the morgue, not to me. Closer inspection revealed the wounds had been sealed by intense cold, as if the patient had been frozen either while being injured or immediately after. He was still clinging to life.

Continue reading “The Secret Doctors of NASA: A Surgeon’s Nightmare”

I tried to mine some Bitcoins and I think I might have unglued the fabric of the universe.

Bitcoin logo

(A horror story about Bitcoin.)

A little help?

I’m a research assistant working at a science facility in China. We’ve got one of the most powerful supercomputers in the world. We had to power it down a few months back to do some upgrades, and we’ve got a skeleton crew until it’s all done. Last night, my friend Chen and I were the only ones on the overnight shift. The majority of the hardware was up and running and we were supposed to be stress testing the nodes.

We had software we were required to run, but I had the bright idea to mine Bitcoins to test it instead. God knows those calculations can stress your hardware.

It didn’t take much convincing to get Chen on board with the idea. If we could make a little extra money on the side from our endeavor, it was that much better. Besides, we could run the regular software after.

Chen downloaded the blockchain, installed everything, and we started processing. Lo and behold, BTC fractions started rolling in. It was way faster than either of us had expected. After an hour, we’d made a couple hundred USD. This supercomputer is something else. Adiabatic quantum emulation, baby. Not quite full QC, but close enough where it matters. When the upgrades go public, you’ll know what I’m talking about.

All that said…I think we fucked something up.

Continue reading “I tried to mine some Bitcoins and I think I might have unglued the fabric of the universe.”

The Secret Doctors of NASA: A Dentist’s Discovery

“The Secret Doctors of NASA” is a series of memoirs, diaries, and reports from actual doctors employed by an undisclosed arm of NASA between 1970 and 2001. These writings contain true accounts of the unusual and often highly-classified medical conditions experienced by astronauts during and after their space missions. Following the defunding of the clandestine medical program after the September 11, 2001 terror attacks, the majority of these accounts were left, forgotten, on tape drives in a NASA storage facility. In 2016, a former intern, whose job was to clean out one of these facilities, discovered them. Two years later, he is ready to release what he found.

A Dentist’s Discovery

Arnold F. A*******, DDS
August 4th, 1989

I met the astronaut after a half-year mission on the Russian space station. He’d gone through his preliminary post-landing physical but complained about pain in his jaw and gums. His health, aside from those complaints, was fair.

It was my job to find out what was wrong with him before moving him on to the next specialist. The urologist, I think. The order always changes.

The patient was in decent spirits when we met, although I could tell something was on his mind. We chatted for a little bit. It turned out he’d been working on the Feng-Lee Discovery. My heart sank. Continue reading “The Secret Doctors of NASA: A Dentist’s Discovery”

To Travel

Bodies in bodies.

Bodies of bodies.

True knowledge requires self destruction. I’d always preached it, but I’d never practiced it. Never, until this morning, when the red wire slipped into the black module and I moved while going nowhere. My consciousness – my essence – erupted from my body and left me standing in that busy room of machines and batteries and magic.

(Magic is nothing without machines and batteries.)

I left my body without looking back. The air was smoky and shimmering. The walls were porous. No sound met my earless nothingness. There was only sight. My third eye; my soul; my angel: my guide. My everything.

I traversed the room and slipped through the wall. Continue reading “To Travel”